20 Stars Who Spoke Candidly About Their Tumultuous Relationships With Their Parents

"A dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it," best-selling author Mary Karr once wrote. Naturally, nobody is exempt from family disputesnot even those who put on their best smiles to grace the red carpet.

For actors and singers, being connected to their emotions is essential in their profession. This allows them to turn these unfortunate personal stories into art, whether by drawing inspiration for a song or delivering a powerful performance for a challenging movie role.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Many celebrities have spoken openly about the problematic relationships they had with one or both of their parents, sometimes leading to legal battles. While some have found a path to forgiveness as they grew older, others were left with valuable lessons on how not to treat their own children.

Below, Bored Panda invites you to explore 20 stories of celebrities who have or had a tumultuous relationship with their parents.

#1 Jennifer Aniston

The talented actress had a close bond with her father, John Aniston. However, the relationship with her mom, Nancy Dow, was far more complex.

 “She was from this world of, ‘Honey, take better care of yourself,’ or ‘Honey, put your face on,’ or all of those odd sound bites that I can remember from my childhood,” Jennifer revealed, speaking with Elle Magazine about her mother’s obsession with looks.

“She did it because that was what she grew up with. ‘You want to be happy. It’s hard for big girls.’ She was missing what was [actually] important.”

"I did not come out the model child she'd hoped for, and it was something that really resonated with me: this little girl just wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved by a mom who was too occupied with things that didn't quite matter,” the Friends star said after her mother’s passing.

Image credits: jenniferaniston

#2 Macaulay Culkin

The Home Alone actor’s father, Kit Culkin, was controlling and had him on an incredibly demanding working schedule, neglecting his desires to play and make friends with his peers.

According to Macaulay, his violent dad was “jealous” of him because “everything he tried to do in his life, [he] excelled at before [he] was 10 years old.”

At just 15 years old, the Richie Rich star took his parents to court to ensure they didn’t control his $17 million fortune. Since then, he and his father have been estranged. The 43-year-old reportedly still speaks with his mother, Patricia Brentrup.

"I knew from a very early age that I better take notes on him. Notes on how not to be, notes on how I don’t want to be when I grow up," he said of his father in 2006.

Image credits: culkamania

#3 Eminem

The rapper has had a problematic relationship with her mother, Debbie Nelson, throughout his career. The lowest point came when he released Cleaning Out My Closet in 2002, which led Debbie to file a $11 million defamation lawsuit against her son, as per People Magazine.

More than ten years later, in 2013, Eminem put out Headlights, in which he raps, “And I’m mad I didn’t get the chance to thank you for being my mom and my dad/So Mom, please accept this as a tribute I wrote on this jet.” 

Now, Debbie celebrates her son’s achievements “from afar,” congratulating him on social media on the success of his projects.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Image credits: Brendan_linden

#4 Meghan Markle

The Duchess of Sussex doesn’t have a close relationship with her father, Thomas Markle. Speaking with Piers Morgan, Thomas brought up Prince Harry’s alleged views on Brexit and Donald Trump despite knowing that royals aren’t allowed to comment on politics.

He later complained about being cut out from his daughter’s life. “What riles me is Meghan's sense of superiority. She'd be nothing without me. I made her the Duchess she is today. Everything that Meghan is, I made her,” he told the DailyMail in 2018.

Image credits: Netflix

#5 Rihanna

In 2019, Rihanna sued her father, Ronald Fenty, for using their last name for his talent development agency, Fenty Entertainment. The Love on the Brain singer had trademarked the name before launching her makeup line, Fenty Beauty, two years prior.

According to The Blast, Ronald wanted to profit from his daughter’s name by listing a fake 15-date Latin American tour announcement, which was estimated to have pulled in around US$15 million if legitimate.

Despite their rocky relationship, Rihanna’s father said she “checked in” on him “every day” when he thought he was “going to die” after he experienced severe coronavirus symptoms. She also shipped a ventilator to the isolation center in Barbados where he was staying.

Image credits: Rihanna

#6 Kelly Clarkson

Kelly’s father, Stephen Clarkson, left her when she was 6 years old to move from Fort Worth, Texas, to California. The pain of being abandoned by her dad inspired the lyrics of her 2004 song Because of You.

The two-time Grammy winner revealed that she made an effort to repair the strained relationship with Stephen “a few times” before he passed away in 2018, but he “kept hurting” her.

“You keep trying, and you think, ‘You know what, I shouldn’t have to work this hard for someone to love [me]. That’s a little ridiculous,’” she said on Skavlan in 2017.

Image credits: kellyclarksonshow

#7 Drew Barrymore

“I've never just been angry with her. I've always felt guilt and empathy and utter sensitivity. But we can't really be in each other's lives at this point,” Drew told Marie Claire about the “complicated” relationship with her mother and manager, Jaid Barrymore.

The actress’ adolescence was marked by substance abuse, and Jaid placed her in rehab when she was 12 years old. “My mom locked me up in an institution,” the Never Been Kissed star told The Guardian

“But it did give an amazing discipline. It was like serious recruitment training and boot camp, and it was horrible and dark and very long-lived, a year and a half, but I needed it. My life was not normal.”

When asked whether she was exploited by her parents, Drew responded, “I think with my mother it was definitely too out there. But my dad, no, he was just unavailable.”

Image credits: drewbarrymore

#8 Angelina Jolie

Angelina has a distant relationship with her father, Jon Voight, who separated from his wife when the actress was a year old.

"I had an affair and there was a divorce. There was a lot of hurt and anger,” Jon admitted.

In 2001, after Tomb Raider was released, Angelina’s father publicly blamed his divorce for provoking his daughter’s "serious mental problems," claiming the actress “was never normal.”

Angelina responded by saying that it wasn’t “healthy” for her to be around her father. When she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her charitable work, she thanked her late mother in her acceptance speech and ignored her father, who was in the audience.

Image credits: angelinajolie

#9 Adele

Adele’s father, Mark Evans, left her and her mother when she was only 3 years old. Following the split, Mark’s drinking problem worsened, and he became estranged from his daughter.

The singer recontacted him after learning he was losing his battle with cancer.

“I don’t think I understood the true deepness of how I felt about my dad until we spoke,” she told Rolling Stone Magazine in 2021, revealing that she was eventually able to forgive her father.

Their final conversation “set little [her] free” from feelings of abandonment and fears of being unloved by those she trusted the most.

Image credits: Saturday Night Live

#10 Christina Aguilera

Christina was verbally and physically abused by her father, Fausto Aguilera. After her parents divorced, the songstress moved with her mother and her younger sister, Rachel, to their grandmother's home in a suburb in Pittsburgh.

“Growing up in an unstable environment and whatnot, music was my only real escape," the hitmaker told The Guardian in 2008.

Though she got in touch with her father briefly in 2000, the two are no longer in contact. “I think if he might have been different, it would have been a different situation. But I think you reap what you sow,” she added.

Image credits: xtina

#11 Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay and her mother, Dina Lohan, have both alleged that the actress’ father, Michael, was physically and verbally abusive to Dina. 

"He's put myself and my mother and my mom's parents through so much hell, from the death threats, to throwing shoes at my grandfather's head and giving him a concussion, to threatening to kill my mother in front of my little brother Dakota," the Parent Trap star explained.

Lindsay also accused her father of leaking her personal stories to the press, putting her number on the Internet, and revealing information about her substance abuse struggles.

Speaking with Us Magazine, the 37-year-old showed a more forgiving attitude regarding her dad’s behavior. “Parents have their things together and sometimes the children are immersed in it and you just have to really step back and let your parents do what they do and figure out everything for themselves,” she said.

Image credits: lindsaylohan

#12 Justin Bieber

In 2015, the Canadian singer admitted that his relationship with his mom, Pattie Mallette, had become affected by his several run-ins with the law. “I never wanted my mom to be disappointed in me and I knew she was,” he told Billboard Magazine.

Justin described their communication as “pretty nonexisting.”

“I was distant because I was ashamed. We spent some time not talking, so it takes time to rebuild that trust. She’s living in Hawaii now, so it’s hard, but getting better. She’s an amazing woman and I love her,” he said of Pattie, who raised him as a single mother in Stratford, Ontario.

Image credits: justinbieber

#13 Ariel Winter

The Modern Family star emancipated from her mother, Chrisoula Workman, in May 2015 due to allegations that she was emotionally and physically abused.

"Nobody controls you anymore," Ariel said of being emancipated during an interview on The Ellen Show. "You handle your own business affairs, your own living arrangements, your own money. Everything is sort of in your own hands."

Between the ages of 14 and 17, the actress was under the custody of her older sister, Shanelle Gray, whom she described as her “best friend” and “the most important thing” to her.

Image credits: arielwinter

#14 Brooke Shields

The supermodel has described her late mother, Teri Shields, as “controlling” and said she “wasn’t present” as she grew older as a result of her drinking problem.

When she was 12, Teri got the role of a child sex worker in the 1977 period piece Pretty Baby, which included a nude scene of her.

"All you want to do is love your parent and keep them alive forever, and so I wanted to protect her," Brooke told The Sunday Times in 2023 about the ups and downs of the relationship with her mom. "And by virtue of protecting her, I was justifying everything, and that solidified that bond between us."

Brooke dismissed her mother as her manager when she married tennis star Andre Agassi in the 1990s.

Image credits: brookeshields

#15 Matthew Mcconaughey

Matthew felt betrayed when his mother, Kay, began leaking private conversations to the media when he had his big break in show business in the mid-1990s.

"I was trying to find my own balance with fame and stuff. And I would share things with her … some of those things I would share might show up in the six o’clock news three days later," the Dallas Buyers Club star recalled on the Red Table Talk podcast.

The Oscar winner later learned that Kay had invited the tabloid news program Hard Copy for a tour of his childhood home.

"I call her up and, of course, she’s watching it too, so she picks up the phone, and I hear the same damn show in the background!" he said. "I was not able to talk to her as my mom for about eight years."

Key admitted that she was "enjoying his fame more than he was."

Image credits: officiallymcconaughey

#16 Edward Furlong

Edward grew up without a father and was fostered for a time by his aunt and uncle. In 1995, the Terminator 2 star filed for emancipation following the breakout success of his debut role.

His emancipation and success as an actor were followed by a battle with drug and alcohol abuse and treatment at a rehab institution.

“It was literally an overnight success. It was insane. I’m still coming to grips with the shock and awe of it all. I got into things that weren’t good for me – for a long time. I was a kid who had a lot happening all at once,” the actor told Forbes in 2019.

“It’s insane for a little kid to get that much power. Especially if you don’t really have any parents.”

Image credits: edwardfurlongofficial

#17 Kate Hudson

Bill Hudson wasn’t present in Kate’s life as a father.

After her brother, Oliver, wished him a “Happy abandonment day” on Father’s Day, Bill admitted that he “no longer recognized” Oliver and Kate as his own.

"I say to them now, ‘I set you free,'" he told the DailyMail

"I had five birth children and I now consider myself a father of three. I would ask them to stop using the Hudson name. They are no longer a part of my life. Oliver's Instagram post was a malicious, vicious, premeditated attack. He is dead to me now. As is Kate."

Kate’s father figure has long been her mother’s boyfriend, Miracle actor Kurt Russell.

Image credits: katehudson

#18 Courtney Love

Courtney was intermittently placed in foster care in 1979 until she won legal emancipation from her parents at 15 years old. After being legally freed from parental control, the actress and singer became estranged from her mother, writer Linda Carroll.

She also has a rocky relationship with her own daughter, Frances Bean, who she had with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. Following Courney’s drug-related arrest in 2003, Frances’ grandmother was appointed her guardian until Courtney regained custody almost two years later following a stint in rehab.

The mother and daughter are reportedly working on rebuilding their relationship. “When my mom is on a right and healthy path, she is one of the most fulfilling, beautiful, intelligent and kind people I ever met,” Frances said in 2019.

Image credits: NME

#19 Bijou Philips

At 14 years old, Bijou left home and moved into her own apartment amid allegations that her father, the late The Mamas and the Papas musician John Phillips, had an incestuous relationship with her half-sister, Mackenzie, for ten years.

Mackenzie made the same claims during a 2016 interview with Oprah.

While living by herself in New York, Bijou would often party, drink, and take drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin.

"If you were 14 years old and able to live on your own in an apartment in New York City, and you got invited to all these clubs, and you got a bank account and you had a car service you could call so that you could go wherever you wanted … What would happen?" the socialite told The Guardian in 2002.

Image credits: bijouphillips

#20 Dylan Farrow

“It is difficult for me to see him and to hear his voice,” Dylan said, reacting to a clip of a 60 Minutes interview from 1992 in which her adoptive father, Woody Allen, denied sexually abusing her.

Speaking on CBS This Morning, Dylan opened up about being abused by the filmmaker when she was 7 years old.

“As a seven-year-old, I would say he touched my private parts, which I did say. As a 32 year old, he touched my labia and my vulva with his finger.”

The director has vigorously denied all allegations and was never charged with a crime. He also cheated on his former partner, Mia Farrow, with Mia’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, and he married her when she was 27 years old.

Image credits: realdylanfarrow

Source: boredpanda.com

No votes yet.
Please wait...